Fri, 30 January 2015
How do you cope on those days when you walk into your exam room, only to be confronted by a patient clutching reams of computer printouts, and demanding answers? "Because they told me I should get this/take this/have this ......"
Not well, I bet! Especially after the 5th or 6th patient of the day.
The frustration and tedium of these repeated experiences prompted ENT surgeon Russell Faust MD PhD into action.
Not content to put up with the health information garbage he felt patients were being exposed to, he decided to publish his own patient education materials on a website, and steer both new and old patients to the site for answers.
The rest is his history ... and his story, which you can listen to in my interview with him. In this conversation, I explore how his hobby of computer geekiness, along with his passion for accurate patient education, morphed into a full-fledged consulting, coaching and speaking business, now housed under the umbrella consortium of Windriven Group Inc., one that has now become his primary occupation.
His current blog also offers free guidance for practitioners and health systems to better connect with their communities.
When you are done listening to us chat, please stop back by The Entrepreneurial MD and add your comments or questions.
Tue, 23 September 2014
Dr. Barry Katz is a radiologist with ankles on the mind. And an entrepreneurial physician to boot (read on ... the pun will become obvious!) Having suffered ankle sprains when playing basketball as a younger man and noting the same problem in his son, he was bugged by the idea that there was no good way to prevent them ... at least, until now.
Teaming up with his orthopedic and podiatrist colleagues, and scouring the medical literature, internet and other places for insights as to the cause of these ankle injuries, he invented a shoe to prevent the sprains from occurring. Ektio Shoes was born.
And, to assure a good working knowledge about the business of creating and selling a specialty product ... after all, he nothing about shoes! ... he endured the grueling experience of retruning to school for his MBA. Which, in his estimation, has paid huge dividends.
Listen to Dr Katz tell his inspiring story, and then share your thoughts at The Entrepreneurial MD
Tue, 18 March 2014
As a neurology resident, Scott Zimmerman MD became aware that medical practice, beyond the rarefied atmosphere of training, was unlikely to fulfill the needs of his creative spirit.
With this foresight, he began to teach himself coding, scouring as many resources as he could find, between call days and patient care hours.
Zimmerman had spent his undergraduate years at Columbia University, cultivating an interest in economic development, poverty alleviation, and harnessing scalable instruments (namely software and tax policy) to address social ills.
Driven by these passions, his first software applications found their focus.
His gradual realization that medicine was unlikely to offer him the professional fulfillment he sought resulted in a move full-time to software and then the development of his own business -- Xola.com, an integrated booking, marketing, and distribution software used at this time primarily by the travel industry.
This is a longer interview than usual (about 33 minutes) and I apologize for not sounding smooth (I had had oral work that day), but please enjoy my interview with Dr Zimmerman here -- it was a fascinating, wide-ranging and very insightful conversation and he offers great advice to those of you seeking to divert your futures to a non-clinical career outside of medical practice.
Then please rejoin us at The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your thoughts or comments.
Mon, 3 February 2014
Dr. John Shufeldt is a driven man.
While many might consider being driven to accomplish a key ingredient of success, in this case, John is driven to learn, by being a "serial student".
His entrepreneurial bent manifested early – in the slew of moneymaking activities that marked both his childhood and his medical school days. While he always knew he wanted to be a doctor, he couldn't help his desire to improve processes and "things" that he noticed weren't optimized.
As he describes in his interview with me, his other overwhelming inclination -- his fierce desire to learn -- has had to be assuaged by going back to school every 10 years. First, his MD, followed by his MBA and 10 years later, his JD. That 10 years is almost up and he is getting set for his next adventure as a student.
When I gently accused him of being intimidating to normal folks like us, he protested and pointed out, as he did repeatedly in his book"Ingredients of Outliers" (reviewed here last week), that his journey has been a succession of small "fast failures" (one key to success, by the way), punctuated by intermittent successes. Of course, I think he's being unduly modest… but let's see what your opinion is!
Listen to his fascinating story here, and then return here to The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your comments, as I'd love to hear what you think!
Wed, 18 September 2013
A newly-minted physician entrepreneur, Dr Tara Coles is all energy - an ER physician, mother of four, artist, writer, speaker and self-professed healer with a zest for learning and putting her multiple talents to work.
Her passions extend to women's wellness, integrative approaches to health and nutrition, mindfulness and creativity, and she is fired up by the vision that, in the face of a failing healthcare system (as seen through the exhausted eyes of an ER physician), there has to be a better way to engage people, especially women through building community into their lives. And community is a place of shared struggles and triumphs, and laughter.
Tara's magazine-style website Women's Wellness and Health is currently her signature site, and is the launch pad for future websites that will focus on art, and services she plans to offer clients. She maintains a very active social media profile on Facebook and Twitter -- an excellent move to begin building an following for her future businesses.
Listen to Tara tell her story about her journey into becoming a physician entrepreneur and then join us back at The Entrepreneurial MD to add your comments or thoughts.
Wed, 28 August 2013
This is a first for me – the chance to interview an entrepreneurial physician married couple in which each of the partners brought different and complementary skills to the table to build a healthcare technology business together.
Drs. Manju and Gopal Chopra teamed up several years ago to bring to market a HIPAA-compliant secure communication platform (it's actually a smart phone or tablet app) called PingMD, that enables patients and families to rapidly communicate with their healthcare providers instead of being placed in an endless phone tag loop. In addition, healthcare providers can use the app to be in instant contact with one another via text messaging, for those invaluable curbside consults or referrals that result in enhanced patient care.
Dr. Manju Chopra is not only an entrepreneurial physician, but also continues to practice as a pediatrician focused on improving access and care for her patients and families. It was her frustrations inmedical practice that provided the germ of their business idea.
Her husband, Dr. Gopal Chopra, on the other hand, is a seasoned physician entrepreneur with an impressive history in investment banking, medical technology and business development. In addition, he owns several patents for inventions.
Listen to the story, along with the challenges, of how the Chopras ended up being in business together, while maintaining a marriage, a practice and their roles as parents.
And then do rejoin us at The Entrepreneurial MD to share your comments or questions.
Tue, 9 July 2013
A rare breast lymphoma showing up at age 13 has to be one of life's bigger lemons. Newly minted physician entrepreneur and business owner Sharon McLaughlin MD had to cope with cancer treatment including radiation to her breast and chest wall as she was entering adolescence, followed years later in her early 30s by an elective double mastectomy.
Frustrated over the years by the lack of comfortable yet feminine and even sexy clothing and underwear, this plastic surgeon, who has had experience firsthand and through her patients, decided to step back from her clinical practice and devote time to developing a line of clothing to please cancer and mastectomy women patients ... and their significant others.
In a candid interview (listen here), Sharon shares her very personal story and why she has chosen now to change her career direction and go into business as a cosmetic surgeon and clothing retailer as the proud owner of Courage Couture!
And then please rejoin us at The Entrepreneurial MD to add your comments and thoughts.
Mon, 20 May 2013
Dr. Richard (Rich) Sagall is a very busy physician entrepreneur these days. As co-founder and president of the 501(c)(3) non-profit NeedyMeds, he is reaping the rewards of having pursued his passion -- helping those whose circumstances make receiving affordable healthcare treatments and services a significant challenge.
Over 25 years ago, Rich began his clinical life as a family physician in practice and went on to work in occupational medicine, before ultimately moving full-time into his own non-profit start-up.
On the advice of his father, he wisely looked ahead while still practicing clinical medicine, and anticipated the day when providing care one-on-one to patients would no longer satisfy his sense of purpose. He began to acquire multiple ancillary skills, including computer programming and comptency with the Internet.
A chance conversation with a medical social worker colleague, Libby Overly, provided his next opportunity and NeedyMeds was born in 1997.
NeedyMeds started life almost as a hobby and has evolved to the point that it was named one of theTop 50 Non-Profit Best Places to Work in 2013, alongside such luminaries as the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer's Association and The LIVESTRONG Foundation. Its statement is as follows:
Listen to my conversation with Trailblazer Rich Sagall MD of NeedyMeds and then rejoin The Entrepreneurial MD to add your thoughts.
Wed, 17 October 2012
Dr James Bernstein is a man of many careers and talents.
Starting out as a newly minted internist and then surgeon, he was invited to work in Dr Jonas Salk's lab. With a bit more time on his hands (no night or weekend call!), he reflected on what he really wanted to accomplish with his life. His chief insight at the time was that, as a practicing physician he could impact several lives, one at a time. But, inspired by role models like Dr Salk, he quickly recognized that his desire to make a real difference to many more people could only be realized using leverage as a businessman. Finding ways to funnel his medical training and experience into businesses that made things and delivered services to hundreds if not thousands!
From there evolved his career as a serial entrepreneur - and his philosophy of social business that has increasingly sought to improve the quality of life for millions of impoverished people in the world.
Listen to his inspiring story and shared wisdom in our informal conversation. Please then rejoin us on The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your comments.
His email address if you would like to contact him is James.Bernstein@EniwareSterile.com and you can join his Global Ambassador Corps here.
Sat, 26 May 2012
Most physicians graduate medical school, or later from our residencies, our heads and hearts filled with idealistic aspirations. We carry internal visions of what we hope to do with this hard-earned degree ... make a difference, do special work, earn the respect of our colleagues and love of our grateful patients...
What we didn't expect was how hard it would be to face the realities of starting a practice, developing our own following of patients or physician referrals, and making a living.
This shock was no different for Jeffrey Hartog MD - a South-African born plastic surgeon who started his career training as a dentist (we discovered we were classmates in South Africa for the one year that dentists and medical students trained together!) and went on to retrain several times as a maxillofacial and then plastic surgeon. His dream - to become a highly specialized pediatric cranio-facial expert.
Instead, he faced the reality of needing to support a growing family and setting his sights on new and different goals.
To indulge his entrepeneurial spirit, he built his own surgical clinic. To appease his restless spirit, he began several years ago to explore the newly-developing field of fat-grafting, resulting in the development of his own FDA-registered fat back, which he describes as follows:
In this 18-minute podcast interview, I explore with Jeff the challenges and opportunities that being an entrepreneurial physician has dished up.
When you are done listening, please return to The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your thoughts or comments.